Selected transcript from Pirates' General Manager Neal Huntington's meeting with press before this Sunday afternoon's game against the Rockies.
Jameson Taillon's promotion to Indianapolis
We felt like Jameson has done what we needed him to do to be ready for the next challenge. We felt the quality of the changeup, his belief in it, the quality and consistency of it, was ready for the next level. The two-seamer, the four-seamer, the curveball had been there for a while.
Alen Hanson's promotion to Altoona
Just as the changeup was with Jameson, defensive consistency at shortstop, that's going to be his main indicator as to whether he is ready to make the next step. We felt that Alen had got to a point where he was ready to go to the next level where the game is a little faster.
Next step for Wandy Rodriguez
The next step would be mound progression (after flat ground long toss, which he is currently doing). It's too early for us to talk publicly where Wandy is going, but throwing from the mound is certainly the next level in the progression.
James McDonald back this season?
We're looking for James to help us again at some point this season. It is a matter of in what role. How does the first bullpen lead to the second bullpen? Which will then lead to the next step in the progression. A successful progression brings him back in the mix for this season.
Can the Pirates count on Alex Presley and Jose Tabata?
Alex and Jose could be part of the answer. They've been part of the answer in the past. They've showed signs of being part of the answer as we move forward. But they haven't done it on a consistent enough basis. So let's see how consistent they can be.
On Thursday, Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle shared with the press that rival general managers advised the Pirates to do things "properly," by which, Hurdle meant, GMs were reminding the Pirates that they had to win this year, they could not afford another collapse, and that they needed to pay whatever cost to upgrade the team. Here is Hurdle's quote:
"There were some general managers that wanted to remind us that we'd lost 20 years in a row." Leaning over and speaking quietly and smiling sheepishly, Hurdle added, "That we might have overlooked that. That we might want to rethink how much we're willing to spend on players."
Today Neal Huntington was asked if he was surprised by the advice and whether it was a theme he ran into more than once.
It was more surprising in that it just wasn't one team. There were a couple. Some gamesmanship. Reminding us how important is was to the city for us to win and how long it had been, and we understand it. You know it's part of the gamesmanship. It had no impact whatsoever, if not turning us against them a little bit.
We're in this thing to win. We're in this thing to be competitive. If we can push a button and it registers, then we push the button.
Pitch or inning limit for Gerrit Cole?
What the general public doesn't see is the innings he thrown in instructional league. He's been much more efficient at the Major League level than in the minor leagues and the pitch count is different. We'll monitor it, we'll be careful with it. Much like Clint's done with most of our pitchers, he'll watch to see if his stuff is still crisp. Is he still sharp? Is his energy level still up?
We're just going to have a flat no response.
Some trade conversations may carry over to the offseason
There are some that are finite and there are some that lay the groundwork for future conversations. Yeah, so I would say there are some that will be revisited in the offseason.